NOV 18, 2016 07:47 AM PST
Symbiosis: Mutualism, Commensalism, and Parasitism
1 4 1066

Symbiotic relationships are interactions between species that can benefit either both or one of the species. There are three types of symbiosis: mutualism, where both species are benefited; commensalism, where one species benefits and the other is not harmed or helped; and parasitism, where one species benefits and the other is harmed.

One example of parasitism is ticks. Ticks feed off the blood of humans and animals, thus obtaining the nutrients to survive. However, not only are humans and animals freely donating their blood, but they also are often affected by diseases that the ticks spread.

An example of mutualism exists in the interactions between birds and cows: the birds eat the ticks that are feeding on the cows, thus cleaning the cows of an unwanted visitor whilst at the same time receiving nutrients.

Commensalism also is common is the natural world. One example of this could be a seed hitchhiking a ride on your shirt. The seed therefore is able to extend its dispersal zone, but (so long as your shirt doesn't tear!) you are not impacted by the seed's existence.

What other symbiotic relationships can you think of?
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She currently lives in Colombia.
You May Also Like
MAY 09, 2018
Videos
MAY 09, 2018
How Much Do We Really Know about Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder has been in the news recently since singer Mariah Carey revealing her diagnosis. As it happens, other celebrities have battled bipolar inc
MAY 19, 2018
Videos
MAY 19, 2018
The neuroscience behind Laurel vs. Yanny
Neuroscientist Tyler Perrachione, an Assistant Professor at Boston University, explains the science behind the soundbite that's taken the internet by a sto
JUN 04, 2018
Videos
JUN 04, 2018
What is the South Atlantic Anomaly?
As satellites orbit the Earth, they must be careful to shut down while passing through particular areas. One of such areas is the South Atlantic Anomaly, w
JUN 04, 2018
Videos
JUN 04, 2018
Are Giant Pandas Overrated?
Are giant pandas overrated? Sure, they’re cute and bring a lot of tourism to zoos and wildlife parks, but they don’t do much for the environmen
JUN 06, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUN 06, 2018
Berkelium a Bizarre Element
Berkelium is a synthetic, radioactive element that was first made at the  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory located in Berkeley, California (hence
JUN 08, 2018
Videos
JUN 08, 2018
The Molecular Machinery of the Cell in Action
Cell division, also referred to as mitosis, is a critical process that keeps us alive. It has now been animated in detail.
Loading Comments...